There’s nothing more frustrating than social media algorithm changes that render your marketing strategy completely ineffective! Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest…they all do it to you.
After months of trial and error, of researching and working to understand how to make the most of the platform, after carefully devising a marketing plan and finding just the right balance—WHAM!
They change the algorithm and suddenly your stats plummet and your realize your marketing strategy no longer works with the new system. Back to the drawing board!
That’s what happened to me this past April 2018 when Pinterest implemented a major algorithm change. I’d launched my blog February 1st and began marketing in earnest. Stats on my fairly new Pinterest profile began to rise rapidly and soon hit 299K views a month. I was elated. I had a system for my marketing, and the system worked well. I was getting great traffic to my blog, subscribers to my mailing list, and making money affiliate marketing.
Then the algorithm change took place and my numbers began a steady decline. And they continued to decline. For months. They dropped and fizzled and withered like a helium balloon losing air after a party. When they dropped below 100K, I was disheartened in the extreme. I was putting in a lot of effort daily on my Pinterest profile and it was making NO difference. When was the downward spiral going to end?
Taking Steps to Stop the Hemorrhaging
By the end of August, I’d reached my breaking point. I’d had it with Pinterest kicking my butt! Summoning my energy, I determined I would fight back and win if it killed me. I started researching all the latest blogs and articles that Pinterest and its associates were putting out on the way to work with the new algorithm. I scheduled a meeting with a Pinterest expert, and I polled friends and fellow bloggers about where they were seeing the best results.
My initial findings
After scrutinizing my profile, I realized my boards needed an SEO update badly. I had added a number of boards in a hurry and not done my keyword research like I should have. Plus over time, keywords can change, new buzzwords take the spotlight, and you need to give your SEO a freshening up to reflect the trends.
I set aside three days and took time to SEO my Pinterest account from top to bottom which I talk about in my blog post “10 Easy Pinterest SEO Tips To Increase Your Traffic.” I saw an immediate upturn in my stats however, I wasn’t fully satisfied with stopping there.
As I studied the latest research and information put out by Pinterest, Tailwind, Traffic Wonker, and other Pinterest experts, I realized something key! Updating and improving my keywords throughout my profile was a great first step, but I wasn’t going far enough.
I needed to be more strategic if I wanted to reach my target audience.
The New Pinterest Focus
Remember the good old days when you could add your pin to 10 or 20 active group boards and you’d have 1,000 re-pins before you turned around? Sigh. Yeah, me too.
Pinterest’s focus has shifted away from group boards and is now more concentrated on pinning to quality “relevant” boards on your own profile. The Pinterest algorithm likes you to take a well keyworded pin and add it to a board with similar keywords full of pins that also contain those same keywords. This gives the system a clear idea of what your pin is about.
It responds by sharing that pin with people who have shown an interest in that keyword, either through searches, or by adding boards and pins with similar keywords to their own profile. It shows up in their feed, gets recommended to them while they are pinning, and is added to their notifications about what other pinners are adding to their accounts.
I realized I could utilize Pinterest’s compulsion to share and make it work in my favor in a much bigger way, but I needed to go back to the drawing board.
Strategic Profile Planning
Whenever you make a decision in business, you need to approach it with the end results in mind. What do you want to accomplish? What is all of this work leading to? What is the ultimate goal?
Then build backwards from that point so that all your efforts lead to that intended result.
So what result are you hoping to get from your Pinterest account? It’s not enough to say, “I want to attract people to my blog.” Sorry. Too vague.
What kind of people? What topics interest them? By getting them to click your links and reading your articles what do you want to accomplish?
I sat down and asked myself these kinds of questions—something I hadn’t really done since before I’d launched my blog. At the time I’d had a loose vision in mind for my blog and business. Like any business venture, my blog had evolved since its inception and taken on new angles and aspects I hadn’t expected. It was time to get clear on my plan and adjust my profile to reflect my updated vision.
I sat down with a notebook and pen and started getting really clear on my intentions for my Pinterest account with these questions:
- What is my plan for my Pinterest profile?
- Who do I want to attract?
- What do I want to promote?
- How do I plan to make money?
- What topics interest my ideal customer?
- What keywords best represent my topics?
- Where am I currently drawing traffic from?
- How could I capitalize on that interest?
Once I was clear on my answers and my aim, it was time to further tailor my strategy to support my business goals from start to finish.
Determine Primary Topics
As a blogger, you have a handful of topics you blog about regularly. Depending on your niche and how broad the scope of topics you cover, you probably have 3 to 5 general topics that most of your content falls under. You’ll have a few stray topics too, and that’s normal. We’re just talking about the bulk of your work right now.
For example, Heart My Life focuses primarily on blogging tips, affiliate marketing, social media, marketing strategies, and making money from home. Those are my main topics and 95% of my blog articles fall under those categories. That’s how it should be. That’s what having a niche is all about!
Determine your primary topics/categories and write them down. They’re incredibly important in developing your Pinterest marketing strategy.
The next step in the process is to take those primary categories and find the terms people are searching to get information on that subject. Every topic has its buzzwords. In fact, every primary category should have at least three or four strong keywords that lead back to it. Some will have many more.
For example, I blog and pin often about affiliate marketing. Other buzzwords related to affiliate marketing are passive income, monetization, and making money online. I realized I had just one board that was appealing to the affiliate marketing niche. My top ranked pins were mostly in that category, and my profile ranks in the top 50 for affiliate marketing—a very competitive niche. I needed to put more juice behind this topic in my Pinterest marketing strategy.
I did some research and identified more keywords I could target. You want to find keywords that get a fair volume of search traffic but have room for some new competition. If you think you can rank for that word, add it to your list.
Create More Boards
Once you have some new keywords to choose from, pick the top three to five words or phrases. Now, create boards that focus on your new target keywords. Do your SEO for those words and find popular long-tailed keywords and phrases. Make sure your board description is spot on and uses the keyword several times by itself and long-tailed keyword phrases.
I added Passive Income, Monetize Your Blog, and Make Money Online to my list to expand on my affiliate marketing topic. Suddenly I had three more relevant boards to pin to when I wrote a blog post on affiliate marketing. I also had more ways for people searching those terms related to affiliate marketing to find me and my profile.
You want to have at least three highly relevant boards to help you share your blog post content on your main topics. Let’s say, for example, that you go from having one board with a relevant keyword to having three on a topic.
Now, Pinterest distributes your pin to three different keyword groups that lead back to your main topic. People find you in searches under three different terms. You get traction on more levels. See how this is working out in your favor?
Suddenly you’ve tripled your exposure in the searches.
SEO your Board Titles and Descriptions
In order for this to work well, you need to make sure your board titles and board descriptions are very clear on your keyword topic and optimized to work with Pinterest searches. You can read more about how to do this in-depth research in my article “10 Easy Pinterest SEO Tips To Increase Your Traffic.”
Add Pins To Each Board
According to the Pinterest expert I spoke with recently, a board won’t start to gain traction until it has at least 30 pins. You’ll see more traffic and interest when you reach 100 pins. You have a real shot at ranking in search when you have over 200 high-quality pins on a board.
But you don’t want to inundate your followers with 200 pins on one topic in a day. To keep from flooding your feed, you can do one of two things:
1) Make the board “secret” and fill it up with pins all in one or two sessions, then move it to the “public” setting.
2) Add at least 10 pins to that board every day for a couple weeks until you reach 200. Either method is fine. It just depends on your patience level and time constraints.
Pinterest ranks boards in search results based on several factors:
- how closely the title of the board matches the keyword search
- how many pins the board contains
- the number of followers on that board
You’ve already done your keyword research. You can add more pins to your board to help you rank higher on that count. The only factor that is out of your control is the number of followers your boards have. But those followers will find you more easily and more quickly once you’ve done your SEO work and are adding quality pins like breadcrumbs leading back to your account.
See “10 Tips For Creating High-Performing Pinterest Images” if you need help increasing engagement on your individual pins.
Finally, make an effort to add high-quality pins to your new boards regularly so they stay high in the search rankings. There are many different schools of thought on pinning strategies. Some people swear by manual pinning. Some people are totally automated with schedulers. Most of you are probably like me and prefer a mix of the two.
I like to manual pin a little bit each day for a couple of reasons. One, I like to see what’s coming through my feed and read a few articles here and there to stay up on current trends. Two, I am a member of numerous group boards and I feel it’s only fair to re-pin a pin or two for every pin I share to the group board. Manual pinning is the best way I know of to do this.
But I also use schedulers to do the bulk of the heavy lifting. They allows me the freedom I need to live my life on my timeline and not be tied to manual pinning and marketing chores. If I need to take a day off and won’t be near my computer, I have no worries about my Pinterest stats falling because I missed a day of pinning. My schedulers keep my feed churning out great pins whether I’m monitoring them or not.
I also like to vacation a couple time a year. I can fill my scheduler queues up and not spend a moment thinking about Pinterest for a week or more. This kind of peace of mind is invaluable and worth every reasonable penny I pay for my schedulers.
Currently, I’m using two scheduling services and here’s what I love about each one:
I love Tailwind for the amazing analytics I can access through the program. They show me which of my boards are performing well. I can see which of my pins are getting the most love. At a glance I see how many followers, re-pins, and views I get in a day. All that information gives me insight to better strategize my next moves.
I also appreciate the opportunity to participate in Tribes because having other bloggers in my niche sharing my pins has drastically expanded my reach. My follower rates increased dramatically when I began using Tribes. I also love the high-quality content that I find in Tribes. I add Tribe-mates’ content to my queue and have great pins coming out on a regular basis.
This fairly new arrival to the Pinterest scheduler scene offers a leap forward in A. I. technology. It’s an incredibly sophisticated software and yet so simple to use.
When you create a new pin, you only have to upload it to your “library” once. The “Wonker Bots” watch for trends and rebuild your queue each week to maximize engagement. When a topic wanes in popularity the A. I. will shelve those pins for a while. This kind of intelligent curation leads to better conversion rates and it’s a huge time saver.
Since I like to share other people’s pins too, Traffic Wonker’s FastFill feature is a blessing! I can add curated content from fellow bloggers to my library with a few clicks. The A.I. will find the best time to add those pins to my profile. The whole process takes me less than 5 minutes a week, and it runs on autopilot after that.
BTW, Traffic Wonker offers a free trial. No credit card required. Check it out and see if this service is right for you!
My Strategic Planning Results
Immediately after I finished redoing all the SEO on my Pinterest account and boards, I received 30% increase in weekly followers over my average rate, a 30% rise in monthly views, and a nice jump in traffic to my site.
Once I’d completed my strategic planning and began targeting more keywords, I saw another increase in my views and my boards are steadily rising in the rankings. Traffic to my site is up another few percentage points, and my visitors are staying on the page much longer now. My subscriber rates have jumped a bit too.
I think I’ve tapped into my ideal audience and am doing a better job of attracting people who appreciate my subject matter. Time will tell exactly how much impact this strategic planning will have on my account, but so far I’m happy with the numbers! My Pinterest stats have stopped declining and are on the rise again. Woot!
Looking for more tips to take your Pinterest marketing to the next level? Join my 10-Day Pinterest challenge that gives you easy, actionable steps that help you get the most from your Pinterest marketing efforts!